Constitution of the Republic of Botswana 1966, as amended to 2006


Jurisdiction and Access

(1) Where any question as to the interpretation of this Constitution arises in any proceedings in any subordinate court and the court is of the opinion that the question involves a substantial question of law, the court may, and shall, if any party to the proceedings so requests, refer the question to the High Court.
(2) Where any question is referred to the High Court in pursuance of this section, the High Court shall give its decision upon the question and the court in which the question arose shall, subject to any appeal, dispose of the case in accordance with that decision. (Sec. 105)

Jurisdiction and Access

An appeal shall lie as of right to the Court of Appeal from any decision of the High Court which involves the interpretation of this Constitution, other than a decision of the High Court under section 69(1) of this Constitution:
Provided that no appeal shall lie from a determination of the High Court under this section dismissing an application on the ground that it is frivolous or vexatious. (Sec. 106)

Equality and Non-Discrimination

Whereas every person in Botswana is entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, that is to say, the right, whatever his race, place of origin, political opinions, colour, creed or sex, but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest to each and all of the following, namely-
(a) life, liberty, security of the person and the protection of the law;
… (Sec. 3)

Equality and Non-Discrimination

(1) Subject to the provisions of subsections (4), (5) and (7) of this section, no law shall make any provision that is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect.
(2) Subject to the provisions of subsections (6), (7) and (8) of this section, no person shall be treated in a discriminatory manner by any person acting by virtue of any written law or in the performance of the functions of any public office or any public authority.
(3) In this section, the expression “discriminatory” means affording different treatment to different persons, attributable wholly or mainly to their respective descriptions by race, tribe, place of origin, political opinions, colour or creed whereby persons of one such description are subjected to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of another such description are not made subject or are accorded privileges or advantages which are not accorded to persons of another such description.
(4) Subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to any law so far as that law makes provision—

(c) with respect to adoption, marriage, divorce, burial, devolution of property on death or other matters of personal law;
(d) for the application in the case of members of a particular race, community or tribe of customary law with respect to any matter whether to the exclusion of any law in respect to that matter which is applicable in the case of other persons or not; or
(e) whereby persons of any such description as is mentioned in subsection (3) of this section may be subjected to any disability or restriction or may be accorded any privilege or advantage which, having regard to its nature and to special circumstances pertaining to those persons or to persons of any other such description, is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society.
(5) Nothing contained in any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of subsection (1) of this section to the extent that it makes reasonable provision with respect to qualifications for service as a public officer or as a member of a disciplined force or for the service of a local government authority or a body corporate established directly by any law.
(6) Subsection (2) of this section shall not apply to anything which is expressly or by necessary implication authorized to be done by any such provision of law as is referred to in subsection (4) or (5) of this section.
(7) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this section to the extent that the law in question makes provision whereby persons of any such description as is mentioned in subsection(3) of this section may be subjected to any restriction on the rights and freedoms guaranteed by sections 9, 11, 12, 13 and 14 of this Constitution, being such a restriction as is authorized by section 9(2), 11(5), 12(2) 13(2), or 14(3), as the case may be.
(8) Nothing in subsection (2) of this section shall affect any discretion relating to the institution, conduct or discontinuance of civil or criminal proceedings in any court that is vested in any person by or under this Constitution or any other law.
(9) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with the provisions of this section-
(a) if that law was in force immediately before the coming into operation of this Constitution and has continued in force at all times since the coming into operation of this Constitution; or
(b) to the extent that the law repeals and re-enacts any provision which has been contained in any written law at all times since immediately before the coming into operation of this Constitution. (Sec. 15)

Obligations of the State

Whereas every person in Botswana is entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, that is to say, the right, whatever his or her race, place of origin, political opinions, colour, creed or sex, but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest to each and all of the following, namely-
(a) life, liberty, security of the person and the protection of the law;
(b) freedom of conscience, of expression and of assembly and association; and
(c) protection for the privacy of his or her home and other property and from deprivation of property without compensation,
the provisions of this Chapter shall have effect for the purpose of affording protection to those rights and freedoms subject to such limitations of that protection as are contained in those provisions, being limitations designed to ensure that the enjoyment of the said rights and freedoms by any individual does not prejudice the rights and freedoms of others or the public interest. (Sec. 3)

Obligations of Private Parties

Whereas every person in Botswana is entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, that is to say, the right, whatever his or her race, place of origin, political opinions, colour, creed or sex, but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest to each and all of the following, namely-
(a) life, liberty, security of the person and the protection of the law;
(b) freedom of conscience, of expression and of assembly and association; and
(c) protection for the privacy of his or her home and other property and from deprivation of property without compensation,
the provisions of this Chapter shall have effect for the purpose of affording protection to those rights and freedoms subject to such limitations of that protection as are contained in those provisions, being limitations designed to ensure that the enjoyment of the said rights and freedoms by any individual does not prejudice the rights and freedoms of others or the public interest. (Sec. 3)

Judicial Protection

(1) Subject to the provisions of subsection (5) of this section, if any person alleges that any of the provisions of sections 3 to 16 (inclusive) of this Constitution has been, is being or is likely to be contravened in relation to him or her, then, without prejudice to any other action with respect to the same matter which is lawfully available, that person may apply to the High Court for redress.
(2) The High Court shall have original jurisdiction-
(a) to hear and determine any application made by any person in pursuance of subsection (1) of this section; or
(b) to determine any question arising in the case of any person which is referred to it in pursuance of subsection (3) of this section, and may make such orders, issue such writs and give such direction as it may consider appropriate for the purpose of enforcing or securing the enforcement of any of the provisions of sections 3 to 16 (inclusive) of this Constitution.
(3) If in any proceedings in any subordinate court any question arises as to the contravention of any of the provisions of sections 3 to 16 (inclusive) of this Constitution, the person presiding in that court may, and shall if any party to the proceedings so requests, refer the question to the High Court unless, in his or her opinion, the raising of the question is merely frivolous or vexatious.
(4) Parliament may confer upon the High Court such powers in addition to those conferred by this section as may appear to be necessary or desirable for the purpose of enabling that court more effectively to exercise the jurisdiction conferred upon it by this section.
… (Sec. 18)

Limitations and/or Derogations

Whereas every person in Botswana is entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, that is to say, the right, whatever his or her race, place of origin, political opinions, colour, creed or sex, but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest to each and all of the following, namely-
(a) life, liberty, security of the person and the protection of the law;
(b) freedom of conscience, of expression and of assembly and association; and
(c) protection for the privacy of his or her home and other property and from deprivation of property without compensation,
the provisions of this Chapter shall have effect for the purpose of affording protection to those rights and freedoms subject to such limitations of that protection as are contained in those provisions, being limitations designed to ensure that the enjoyment of the said rights and freedoms by any individual does not prejudice the rights and freedoms of others or the public interest. (Sec. 3)

Limitations and/or Derogations

(1) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of section 5 or 15 of this Constitution to the extent that the law authorizes the taking during any period when Botswana is at war or any period when a declaration under section 17 of this Constitution is in force, of measures that are reasonably justifiable for the purpose of dealing with the situation that exists during that period.
… (Sec. 16)

Marriage and Family Life

(1) Subject to the provisions of subsections (4), (5) and (7) of this section, no law shall make any provision that is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect.

(3) In this section, the expression “discriminatory” means affording different treatment to different persons, attributable wholly or mainly to their respective descriptions by race, tribe, place of origin, political opinions, colour or creed whereby persons of one such description are subjected to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of another such description are not made subject or are accorded privileges or advantages which are not accorded to persons of another such description.
(4) Subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to any law so far as that law makes provision—…
(c) with respect to adoption, marriage, divorce, burial, devolution of property on death or other matters of personal law;
… (Sec. 15)

Political Rights and Association

Whereas every person in Botswana is entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, that is to say, the right, whatever his or her race, place of origin, political opinions, colour, creed or sex, but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest to each and all of the following, namely-

(b) freedom of conscience, of expression and of assembly and association;
… (Sec. 3)

Political Rights and Association

(1) Except with his or her own consent, no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his or her freedom of assembly and association, that is to say, his or her right to assemble freely and associate with other persons and in particular to form or belong to trade unions or other associations for the protection of his or her interests.
… (Sec. 13)

Political Rights and Association

(1) A person who-
(a) is a citizen of Botswana or of any other country to which this section is applied by Parliament;
(b) has attained the age of 18 years; and
(c) has either resided in Botswana for a continuous period of at least 12 months immediately preceding the date on which he or she applies for registration as a voter or was born in Botswana and is domiciled in Botswana on the date on which he or she applies for registration as a voter, shall, unless he or she is disqualified for registration as a voter under any law, be entitled, upon his or her making application in that behalf at such time and in such manner as may be prescribed by any law, to be registered as a voter for the purposes of elections of Elected Members of the National Assembly, and no other person may be so registered.
… (Sec. 67)

Electoral Bodies

(1) There shall be an Independent Electoral Commission …
(12) The Commission shall be responsible for-
(a) the conduct and supervision of elections of the Elected Members of the National Assembly and members of a local authority, and conduct of a referendum;
(b) giving instructions and directions to the Secretary of the Commission appointed under section 66 in regard to the exercise of his or her functions under the electoral law prescribed by an Act of Parliament;
(c) ensuring that elections are conducted efficiently, properly, freely and fairly; and
(d) performing such other functions as may be prescribed by an Act of Parliament.
… (Sec. 65A)

Head of State

There shall be a President of the Republic of Botswana who shall be the Head of State. (Sec. 30)

Head of State

(1) A person shall be qualified for election as President if, and shall not be qualified unless, he or she-
(a) is a citizen of Botswana by birth or descent;
(b) has attained the age of 30 years; and
(c) is qualified to be elected as a Member of the National Assembly.
(2) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, for the purposes of this section and section 39-
(a) the term "citizen by birth" shall be understood to include only those persons who became citizens of Botswana prior to the amendment of the law relating to citizenship by the Citizenship Act;
(b) any person who, although his or her father was a citizen of Botswana at the time of that person's birth, had, by virtue of his or her having been born outside Botswana, to be registered as a citizen of Botswana, under the law relating to citizenship in force at that time, shall be regarded as a citizen by descent. (Sec. 33)

Vice-President

(1) There shall be a Vice-President who shall be appointed by the President from among the Elected Members of the National Assembly who are citizens of Botswana by birth or descent, which appointment shall be endorsed by the said Elected Members.
… (Sec. 39)

Vice-President

The Vice-President shall be the principal assistant of the President in the discharge of his or her executive functions and shall be responsible, under the directions of the President, for such business of the government of Botswana (including the administration of any department of Government) as the President may assign to him or her. (Sec. 49)

Government

(1) There shall be such offices of Minister of the Government (not exceeding six or such other number as Parliament may from time to time provide) as may be established by Parliament or, subject to the provisions of any Act of Parliament, by the President.
(2) There shall be such offices of Assistant Minister (not exceeding three or such number as Parliament may from time to time provide) as may be established by Parliament or, subject to the provisions of any Act of Parliament, by the President.
(3) Appointments to the office of Minister or Assistant Minister shall be made by the President from among Members of the National Assembly:
Provided that-
(i) not more than four persons may be appointed as Minister or Assistant Minister from amongst persons who are not Members of the Assembly but are qualified for election as such; and
(ii) if occasion arises for making an appointment to the office of a Minister or an Assistant Minister while Parliament is dissolved a person who was a Member of the Assembly before the dissolution may be appointed as a Minister or an Assistant Minister. (Sec. 42)

Government

(1) There shall be a Cabinet which shall consist of the President, Vice-President and the Ministers.
… (Sec. 44)

Legislature

There shall be a Parliament of Botswana which shall consist of the President and a National Assembly. (Sec. 57)

Legislature

Subject to the provisions of section 62 of this Constitution, a person shall be qualified to be elected as a Member of the National Assembly if, and shall not be qualified to be so elected unless-
(a) he or she is a citizen of Botswana;
(b) he or she has attained the age of 18 years;
(c) he or she is qualified for registration as a voter for the purposes of the election of the Elected Members of the National Assembly and is so registered; and
(d) he or she is able to speak, and, unless incapacitated by blindness or other physical cause, to read English well enough to take an active part in the proceedings of the Assembly. (Sec. 61)

Property, Inheritance and Land Tenure

1) Subject to the provisions of subsections (4), (5) and (7) of this section, no law shall make any provision that is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect.

(3) In this section, the expression “discriminatory” means affording different treatment to different persons, attributable wholly or mainly to their respective descriptions by race, tribe, place of origin, political opinions, colour or creed whereby persons of one such description are subjected to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of another such description are not made subject or are accorded privileges or advantages which are not accorded to persons of another such description.
(4) Subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to any law so far as that law makes provision—…
(c) with respect to adoption, marriage, divorce, burial, devolution of property on death or other matters of personal law;
… (Sec. 15)

Protection from Violence

Whereas every person in Botswana is entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, that is to say, the right, whatever his or her race, place of origin, political opinions, colour, creed or sex, but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest to each and all of the following, namely-
(a) life, liberty, security of the person and the protection of the law;
… (Sec. 3)

Protection from Violence

(1) No person shall be held in slavery or servitude.
(2) No person shall be required to perform forced labour.
... (Sec. 6)

Protection from Violence

(1) No person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading punishment or other treatment.
(2) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this section to the extent that the law in question authorizes the infliction of any description of punishment that was lawful in the country immediately before the coming into operation of this Constitution. (Sec. 7)

Public Institutions and Services

(1) The law to be applied with respect to any pensions benefits that were granted to any person before the coming into operation of this Constitution shall be the law that was in force at the date on which those benefits were granted or any law in force at a later date that is not less favourable to that person.

(5) In this section "pensions benefits" means any pensions, compensation, gratuities or other like allowances for persons in respect of their service as public officers or as members of the armed forces or for the widows, children, dependants or personal representatives of such persons in respect of such service. (Sec. 115)

Customary Law

(1) If any person is charged with a criminal offence, then, unless the charge is withdrawn, the case shall be afforded a fair hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial court established or recognized by law.
(2) Every person who is charged with a criminal offence-

(d) shall be permitted to defend himself or herself before the court in person or, at his or her own expense, by a legal representative of his or her own choice;
(e) shall be afforded facilities to examine in person or by his or her legal representative the witnesses called by the prosecution before the court, and to obtain the attendance and carry out the examination of witnesses to testify on his or her behalf before the court on the same conditions as those applying to witnesses called by the prosecution;
...
(8) No person shall be convicted of a criminal offence unless that offence is defined and the penalty therefor is prescribed in a written law ...
(12) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of-
(b) subsection (2)(d) or (2)(e) of this section to the extent that the law in question prohibits legal representation before a subordinate court in proceedings for an offence under customary law (being proceedings against any person who, under that law, is subject to that law);
...
(e) subsection (8) of this section to the extent that the law in question authorizes a court to convict a person of a criminal offence under any customary law to which, by virtue of that law, such person is subject.
... (Sec. 10)

Customary Law

(1) Subject to the provisions of subsections (4), (5) and (7) of this section, no law shall make any provision that is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect.

(3) In this section, the expression “discriminatory” means affording different treatment to different persons, attributable wholly or mainly to their respective descriptions by race, tribe, place of origin, political opinions, colour or creed whereby persons of one such description are subjected to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of another such description are not made subject or are accorded privileges or advantages which are not accorded to persons of another such description.
(4) Subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to any law so far as that law makes provision— …
(c) with respect to adoption, marriage, divorce, burial, devolution of property on death or other matters of personal law;
(d) for the application in the case of members of a particular race, community or tribe of customary law with respect to any matter whether to the exclusion of any law in respect to that matter which is applicable in the case of other persons or not;
… (Sec. 15)

Customary Law

(1) There shall be a Ntlo ya Dikgosi for Botswana which shall consist of not less than 33 nor more than 35 Members which shall be constituted as follows—
(a) one person from each of the following areas, which person for the time being performs the functions of the office of Kgosi in respect of such areas-
(i) Barolong Farms in the Southern District,
(ii) Chobe in the North West District,
(iii) Ga Malete in the South East District,
(iv) Ga Mmangwato in the Central District,
(v) Ghanzi District,
(vi) Goo Tawana in the North West District,
(vii) Kgalagadi District,
(viii) Kgatleng District,
(ix) Kweneng District,
(x) Ngwaketse in the Southern District,
(xi) North East District, and
(xii) Tlokweng in the South East District;
(b) five persons who shall be appointed by the President; and
(c) such number of persons, not being more than 20, as may be selected under section 78(4)(c) of this Constitution.
(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1)(a), the number of persons referred to in that subsection may, by virtue of section 78 (5), be less than 12, but not less than 10. (Sec. 77)

Customary Law

(1) Except for the areas of Ghanzi, Chobe, Kgalagadi and North East, the Members for the areas referred to in section 77(1)(a) shall be designated to the Ntlo ya Dikgosi according to the established norms and practices of those areas.
(2)The Members for the Ghanzi, Chobe, Kgalagadi and North-East areas referred to in section 77(1)(a) shall be selected, from their own number, to the Ntlo ya Dikgosi by persons for the time being performing the functions of the office of Kgosi within each of those areas.
… (Sec. 78)

Customary Law

(1) A person shall be qualified to be appointed under section 77(1)(b) as a Member of the Ntlo ya Dikgosi if he or she—
(a) is a citizen of Botswana; and
(b) has attained the age of 21 years.
...
(4) A Member of the Ntlo ya Dikgosi shall not, while he or she is such a Member, participate in party politics, but active participation in politics prior to being a Member of the Ntlo ya Dikgosi shall not bar any person from being such a Member. (Sec. 79)

Customary Law

(2) The National Assembly shall not proceed upon any Bill (including any amendment to a Bill) that, in the opinion of the person presiding, would, if enacted, alter any of the provisions of this Constitution or affect-
(a) the designation, recognition, removal of powers of Dikgosi or Dikgosana
(b) the organization, powers or administration of customary courts;
(c) customary law, or the ascertainment or recording of customary law;
or
(d) tribal organization or tribal property,
unless-
(i) a copy of the Bill has been referred to the Ntlo ya Dikgosi after it has been introduced in the National Assembly; and
(ii) a period of 30 days has elapsed from the date when the copy of the Bill was referred to the Ntlo ya Dikgosi. (Sec. 88)

Jurisdiction and Access

English

(1) Where any question as to the interpretation of this Constitution arises in any proceedings in any subordinate court and the court is of the opinion that the question involves a substantial question of law, the court may, and shall, if any party to the proceedings so requests, refer the question to the High Court.
(2) Where any question is referred to the High Court in pursuance of this section, the High Court shall give its decision upon the question and the court in which the question arose shall, subject to any appeal, dispose of the case in accordance with that decision. (Sec. 105)

Jurisdiction and Access

English

An appeal shall lie as of right to the Court of Appeal from any decision of the High Court which involves the interpretation of this Constitution, other than a decision of the High Court under section 69(1) of this Constitution:
Provided that no appeal shall lie from a determination of the High Court under this section dismissing an application on the ground that it is frivolous or vexatious. (Sec. 106)

Equality and Non-Discrimination

English

Whereas every person in Botswana is entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, that is to say, the right, whatever his race, place of origin, political opinions, colour, creed or sex, but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest to each and all of the following, namely-
(a) life, liberty, security of the person and the protection of the law;
… (Sec. 3)

Equality and Non-Discrimination

English

(1) Subject to the provisions of subsections (4), (5) and (7) of this section, no law shall make any provision that is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect.
(2) Subject to the provisions of subsections (6), (7) and (8) of this section, no person shall be treated in a discriminatory manner by any person acting by virtue of any written law or in the performance of the functions of any public office or any public authority.
(3) In this section, the expression “discriminatory” means affording different treatment to different persons, attributable wholly or mainly to their respective descriptions by race, tribe, place of origin, political opinions, colour or creed whereby persons of one such description are subjected to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of another such description are not made subject or are accorded privileges or advantages which are not accorded to persons of another such description.
(4) Subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to any law so far as that law makes provision—

(c) with respect to adoption, marriage, divorce, burial, devolution of property on death or other matters of personal law;
(d) for the application in the case of members of a particular race, community or tribe of customary law with respect to any matter whether to the exclusion of any law in respect to that matter which is applicable in the case of other persons or not; or
(e) whereby persons of any such description as is mentioned in subsection (3) of this section may be subjected to any disability or restriction or may be accorded any privilege or advantage which, having regard to its nature and to special circumstances pertaining to those persons or to persons of any other such description, is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society.
(5) Nothing contained in any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of subsection (1) of this section to the extent that it makes reasonable provision with respect to qualifications for service as a public officer or as a member of a disciplined force or for the service of a local government authority or a body corporate established directly by any law.
(6) Subsection (2) of this section shall not apply to anything which is expressly or by necessary implication authorized to be done by any such provision of law as is referred to in subsection (4) or (5) of this section.
(7) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this section to the extent that the law in question makes provision whereby persons of any such description as is mentioned in subsection(3) of this section may be subjected to any restriction on the rights and freedoms guaranteed by sections 9, 11, 12, 13 and 14 of this Constitution, being such a restriction as is authorized by section 9(2), 11(5), 12(2) 13(2), or 14(3), as the case may be.
(8) Nothing in subsection (2) of this section shall affect any discretion relating to the institution, conduct or discontinuance of civil or criminal proceedings in any court that is vested in any person by or under this Constitution or any other law.
(9) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with the provisions of this section-
(a) if that law was in force immediately before the coming into operation of this Constitution and has continued in force at all times since the coming into operation of this Constitution; or
(b) to the extent that the law repeals and re-enacts any provision which has been contained in any written law at all times since immediately before the coming into operation of this Constitution. (Sec. 15)

Obligations of the State

English

Whereas every person in Botswana is entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, that is to say, the right, whatever his or her race, place of origin, political opinions, colour, creed or sex, but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest to each and all of the following, namely-
(a) life, liberty, security of the person and the protection of the law;
(b) freedom of conscience, of expression and of assembly and association; and
(c) protection for the privacy of his or her home and other property and from deprivation of property without compensation,
the provisions of this Chapter shall have effect for the purpose of affording protection to those rights and freedoms subject to such limitations of that protection as are contained in those provisions, being limitations designed to ensure that the enjoyment of the said rights and freedoms by any individual does not prejudice the rights and freedoms of others or the public interest. (Sec. 3)

Obligations of Private Parties

English

Whereas every person in Botswana is entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, that is to say, the right, whatever his or her race, place of origin, political opinions, colour, creed or sex, but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest to each and all of the following, namely-
(a) life, liberty, security of the person and the protection of the law;
(b) freedom of conscience, of expression and of assembly and association; and
(c) protection for the privacy of his or her home and other property and from deprivation of property without compensation,
the provisions of this Chapter shall have effect for the purpose of affording protection to those rights and freedoms subject to such limitations of that protection as are contained in those provisions, being limitations designed to ensure that the enjoyment of the said rights and freedoms by any individual does not prejudice the rights and freedoms of others or the public interest. (Sec. 3)

Judicial Protection

English

(1) Subject to the provisions of subsection (5) of this section, if any person alleges that any of the provisions of sections 3 to 16 (inclusive) of this Constitution has been, is being or is likely to be contravened in relation to him or her, then, without prejudice to any other action with respect to the same matter which is lawfully available, that person may apply to the High Court for redress.
(2) The High Court shall have original jurisdiction-
(a) to hear and determine any application made by any person in pursuance of subsection (1) of this section; or
(b) to determine any question arising in the case of any person which is referred to it in pursuance of subsection (3) of this section, and may make such orders, issue such writs and give such direction as it may consider appropriate for the purpose of enforcing or securing the enforcement of any of the provisions of sections 3 to 16 (inclusive) of this Constitution.
(3) If in any proceedings in any subordinate court any question arises as to the contravention of any of the provisions of sections 3 to 16 (inclusive) of this Constitution, the person presiding in that court may, and shall if any party to the proceedings so requests, refer the question to the High Court unless, in his or her opinion, the raising of the question is merely frivolous or vexatious.
(4) Parliament may confer upon the High Court such powers in addition to those conferred by this section as may appear to be necessary or desirable for the purpose of enabling that court more effectively to exercise the jurisdiction conferred upon it by this section.
… (Sec. 18)

Limitations and/or Derogations

English

Whereas every person in Botswana is entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, that is to say, the right, whatever his or her race, place of origin, political opinions, colour, creed or sex, but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest to each and all of the following, namely-
(a) life, liberty, security of the person and the protection of the law;
(b) freedom of conscience, of expression and of assembly and association; and
(c) protection for the privacy of his or her home and other property and from deprivation of property without compensation,
the provisions of this Chapter shall have effect for the purpose of affording protection to those rights and freedoms subject to such limitations of that protection as are contained in those provisions, being limitations designed to ensure that the enjoyment of the said rights and freedoms by any individual does not prejudice the rights and freedoms of others or the public interest. (Sec. 3)

Limitations and/or Derogations

English

(1) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of section 5 or 15 of this Constitution to the extent that the law authorizes the taking during any period when Botswana is at war or any period when a declaration under section 17 of this Constitution is in force, of measures that are reasonably justifiable for the purpose of dealing with the situation that exists during that period.
… (Sec. 16)

Marriage and Family Life

English

(1) Subject to the provisions of subsections (4), (5) and (7) of this section, no law shall make any provision that is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect.

(3) In this section, the expression “discriminatory” means affording different treatment to different persons, attributable wholly or mainly to their respective descriptions by race, tribe, place of origin, political opinions, colour or creed whereby persons of one such description are subjected to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of another such description are not made subject or are accorded privileges or advantages which are not accorded to persons of another such description.
(4) Subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to any law so far as that law makes provision—…
(c) with respect to adoption, marriage, divorce, burial, devolution of property on death or other matters of personal law;
… (Sec. 15)

Political Rights and Association

English

Whereas every person in Botswana is entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, that is to say, the right, whatever his or her race, place of origin, political opinions, colour, creed or sex, but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest to each and all of the following, namely-

(b) freedom of conscience, of expression and of assembly and association;
… (Sec. 3)

Political Rights and Association

English

(1) Except with his or her own consent, no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his or her freedom of assembly and association, that is to say, his or her right to assemble freely and associate with other persons and in particular to form or belong to trade unions or other associations for the protection of his or her interests.
… (Sec. 13)

Political Rights and Association

English

(1) A person who-
(a) is a citizen of Botswana or of any other country to which this section is applied by Parliament;
(b) has attained the age of 18 years; and
(c) has either resided in Botswana for a continuous period of at least 12 months immediately preceding the date on which he or she applies for registration as a voter or was born in Botswana and is domiciled in Botswana on the date on which he or she applies for registration as a voter, shall, unless he or she is disqualified for registration as a voter under any law, be entitled, upon his or her making application in that behalf at such time and in such manner as may be prescribed by any law, to be registered as a voter for the purposes of elections of Elected Members of the National Assembly, and no other person may be so registered.
… (Sec. 67)

Electoral Bodies

English

(1) There shall be an Independent Electoral Commission …
(12) The Commission shall be responsible for-
(a) the conduct and supervision of elections of the Elected Members of the National Assembly and members of a local authority, and conduct of a referendum;
(b) giving instructions and directions to the Secretary of the Commission appointed under section 66 in regard to the exercise of his or her functions under the electoral law prescribed by an Act of Parliament;
(c) ensuring that elections are conducted efficiently, properly, freely and fairly; and
(d) performing such other functions as may be prescribed by an Act of Parliament.
… (Sec. 65A)

Head of State

English

There shall be a President of the Republic of Botswana who shall be the Head of State. (Sec. 30)

Head of State

English

(1) A person shall be qualified for election as President if, and shall not be qualified unless, he or she-
(a) is a citizen of Botswana by birth or descent;
(b) has attained the age of 30 years; and
(c) is qualified to be elected as a Member of the National Assembly.
(2) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, for the purposes of this section and section 39-
(a) the term "citizen by birth" shall be understood to include only those persons who became citizens of Botswana prior to the amendment of the law relating to citizenship by the Citizenship Act;
(b) any person who, although his or her father was a citizen of Botswana at the time of that person's birth, had, by virtue of his or her having been born outside Botswana, to be registered as a citizen of Botswana, under the law relating to citizenship in force at that time, shall be regarded as a citizen by descent. (Sec. 33)

Vice-President

English

(1) There shall be a Vice-President who shall be appointed by the President from among the Elected Members of the National Assembly who are citizens of Botswana by birth or descent, which appointment shall be endorsed by the said Elected Members.
… (Sec. 39)

Vice-President

English

The Vice-President shall be the principal assistant of the President in the discharge of his or her executive functions and shall be responsible, under the directions of the President, for such business of the government of Botswana (including the administration of any department of Government) as the President may assign to him or her. (Sec. 49)

Government

English

(1) There shall be such offices of Minister of the Government (not exceeding six or such other number as Parliament may from time to time provide) as may be established by Parliament or, subject to the provisions of any Act of Parliament, by the President.
(2) There shall be such offices of Assistant Minister (not exceeding three or such number as Parliament may from time to time provide) as may be established by Parliament or, subject to the provisions of any Act of Parliament, by the President.
(3) Appointments to the office of Minister or Assistant Minister shall be made by the President from among Members of the National Assembly:
Provided that-
(i) not more than four persons may be appointed as Minister or Assistant Minister from amongst persons who are not Members of the Assembly but are qualified for election as such; and
(ii) if occasion arises for making an appointment to the office of a Minister or an Assistant Minister while Parliament is dissolved a person who was a Member of the Assembly before the dissolution may be appointed as a Minister or an Assistant Minister. (Sec. 42)

Government

English

(1) There shall be a Cabinet which shall consist of the President, Vice-President and the Ministers.
… (Sec. 44)

Legislature

English

There shall be a Parliament of Botswana which shall consist of the President and a National Assembly. (Sec. 57)

Legislature

English

Subject to the provisions of section 62 of this Constitution, a person shall be qualified to be elected as a Member of the National Assembly if, and shall not be qualified to be so elected unless-
(a) he or she is a citizen of Botswana;
(b) he or she has attained the age of 18 years;
(c) he or she is qualified for registration as a voter for the purposes of the election of the Elected Members of the National Assembly and is so registered; and
(d) he or she is able to speak, and, unless incapacitated by blindness or other physical cause, to read English well enough to take an active part in the proceedings of the Assembly. (Sec. 61)

Property, Inheritance and Land Tenure

English

1) Subject to the provisions of subsections (4), (5) and (7) of this section, no law shall make any provision that is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect.

(3) In this section, the expression “discriminatory” means affording different treatment to different persons, attributable wholly or mainly to their respective descriptions by race, tribe, place of origin, political opinions, colour or creed whereby persons of one such description are subjected to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of another such description are not made subject or are accorded privileges or advantages which are not accorded to persons of another such description.
(4) Subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to any law so far as that law makes provision—…
(c) with respect to adoption, marriage, divorce, burial, devolution of property on death or other matters of personal law;
… (Sec. 15)

Protection from Violence

English

Whereas every person in Botswana is entitled to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual, that is to say, the right, whatever his or her race, place of origin, political opinions, colour, creed or sex, but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest to each and all of the following, namely-
(a) life, liberty, security of the person and the protection of the law;
… (Sec. 3)

Protection from Violence

English

(1) No person shall be held in slavery or servitude.
(2) No person shall be required to perform forced labour.
... (Sec. 6)

Protection from Violence

English

(1) No person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading punishment or other treatment.
(2) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of this section to the extent that the law in question authorizes the infliction of any description of punishment that was lawful in the country immediately before the coming into operation of this Constitution. (Sec. 7)

Public Institutions and Services

English

(1) The law to be applied with respect to any pensions benefits that were granted to any person before the coming into operation of this Constitution shall be the law that was in force at the date on which those benefits were granted or any law in force at a later date that is not less favourable to that person.

(5) In this section "pensions benefits" means any pensions, compensation, gratuities or other like allowances for persons in respect of their service as public officers or as members of the armed forces or for the widows, children, dependants or personal representatives of such persons in respect of such service. (Sec. 115)

Customary Law

English

(1) If any person is charged with a criminal offence, then, unless the charge is withdrawn, the case shall be afforded a fair hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial court established or recognized by law.
(2) Every person who is charged with a criminal offence-

(d) shall be permitted to defend himself or herself before the court in person or, at his or her own expense, by a legal representative of his or her own choice;
(e) shall be afforded facilities to examine in person or by his or her legal representative the witnesses called by the prosecution before the court, and to obtain the attendance and carry out the examination of witnesses to testify on his or her behalf before the court on the same conditions as those applying to witnesses called by the prosecution;
...
(8) No person shall be convicted of a criminal offence unless that offence is defined and the penalty therefor is prescribed in a written law ...
(12) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of-
(b) subsection (2)(d) or (2)(e) of this section to the extent that the law in question prohibits legal representation before a subordinate court in proceedings for an offence under customary law (being proceedings against any person who, under that law, is subject to that law);
...
(e) subsection (8) of this section to the extent that the law in question authorizes a court to convict a person of a criminal offence under any customary law to which, by virtue of that law, such person is subject.
... (Sec. 10)

Customary Law

English

(1) Subject to the provisions of subsections (4), (5) and (7) of this section, no law shall make any provision that is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect.

(3) In this section, the expression “discriminatory” means affording different treatment to different persons, attributable wholly or mainly to their respective descriptions by race, tribe, place of origin, political opinions, colour or creed whereby persons of one such description are subjected to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of another such description are not made subject or are accorded privileges or advantages which are not accorded to persons of another such description.
(4) Subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to any law so far as that law makes provision— …
(c) with respect to adoption, marriage, divorce, burial, devolution of property on death or other matters of personal law;
(d) for the application in the case of members of a particular race, community or tribe of customary law with respect to any matter whether to the exclusion of any law in respect to that matter which is applicable in the case of other persons or not;
… (Sec. 15)

Customary Law

English

(1) There shall be a Ntlo ya Dikgosi for Botswana which shall consist of not less than 33 nor more than 35 Members which shall be constituted as follows—
(a) one person from each of the following areas, which person for the time being performs the functions of the office of Kgosi in respect of such areas-
(i) Barolong Farms in the Southern District,
(ii) Chobe in the North West District,
(iii) Ga Malete in the South East District,
(iv) Ga Mmangwato in the Central District,
(v) Ghanzi District,
(vi) Goo Tawana in the North West District,
(vii) Kgalagadi District,
(viii) Kgatleng District,
(ix) Kweneng District,
(x) Ngwaketse in the Southern District,
(xi) North East District, and
(xii) Tlokweng in the South East District;
(b) five persons who shall be appointed by the President; and
(c) such number of persons, not being more than 20, as may be selected under section 78(4)(c) of this Constitution.
(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1)(a), the number of persons referred to in that subsection may, by virtue of section 78 (5), be less than 12, but not less than 10. (Sec. 77)

Customary Law

English

(1) Except for the areas of Ghanzi, Chobe, Kgalagadi and North East, the Members for the areas referred to in section 77(1)(a) shall be designated to the Ntlo ya Dikgosi according to the established norms and practices of those areas.
(2)The Members for the Ghanzi, Chobe, Kgalagadi and North-East areas referred to in section 77(1)(a) shall be selected, from their own number, to the Ntlo ya Dikgosi by persons for the time being performing the functions of the office of Kgosi within each of those areas.
… (Sec. 78)

Customary Law

English

(1) A person shall be qualified to be appointed under section 77(1)(b) as a Member of the Ntlo ya Dikgosi if he or she—
(a) is a citizen of Botswana; and
(b) has attained the age of 21 years.
...
(4) A Member of the Ntlo ya Dikgosi shall not, while he or she is such a Member, participate in party politics, but active participation in politics prior to being a Member of the Ntlo ya Dikgosi shall not bar any person from being such a Member. (Sec. 79)

Customary Law

English

(2) The National Assembly shall not proceed upon any Bill (including any amendment to a Bill) that, in the opinion of the person presiding, would, if enacted, alter any of the provisions of this Constitution or affect-
(a) the designation, recognition, removal of powers of Dikgosi or Dikgosana
(b) the organization, powers or administration of customary courts;
(c) customary law, or the ascertainment or recording of customary law;
or
(d) tribal organization or tribal property,
unless-
(i) a copy of the Bill has been referred to the Ntlo ya Dikgosi after it has been introduced in the National Assembly; and
(ii) a period of 30 days has elapsed from the date when the copy of the Bill was referred to the Ntlo ya Dikgosi. (Sec. 88)

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